This meant that getting up on the Saturday morning was quite hard, but still it was worth it :). I had failed to wash my bike on the Friday due to lethargy left over from whatever cold virus I had acquired, so it was a mad rush to wash, oil and check the bike over while kissycat1000 packed off and dropped off various kids to various places. I swear it's not just psychological but the bike seemed to be running a lot smoother for having been cleaned. Even kissycat1000 had to agree it was idling more smoothly.
We made Chievely Services in good time and was able to grab some rather disgusting and expensive Burger King while we waited for dennyd to turn up. We admired all the bikes and even a beetle-conversion trike (which even had a car stereo in it!). Several Harleys and an armchair later (Honda Goldwing; which, being white, looked at first glance to be a police bike) dennyd arrived on his Suzuki SV650, complete with waterproofs, which we quickly stowed in my top box :)
Tried to call stuartl as he lived just a few minutes away but couldn't get hold of him. Sorry you missed all the fun! :(
I'd never been amongst so many bikes before (about a hundred or so), or been on a big ride like this. I was a little apprehensive when no one explained how it was to progress, but as it turned out this wasn't a problem. There were yellow-shirted marshalls, who rotated from the front to the back of the pack blocking off traffic trying to join from junctions while we all streamed past two abreast in a single lane. Didn't realise how tiring riding at a constant (slow) speed was while being very aware of all the riders around you.
There was one idiot in a white van (of course) who negotiated his way around the marshalls blocking off the slip road and would have been about to cut into the line of bikers were it not for heavy braking on all our parts and a few close to the action effectively boxing him in. As I drew close a couple of seconds later, I decided not to stop as it was dangerous and carried on to keep the rest of the pack together as cars were getting tangled in the middle of the riders. As we rode past him the guy had wound his window down and was incredulously shouting "What?!" to the bikers surrounding him. Next time try switching your brain on mate?
kissycat1000 tells me that at one point she looked ahead and could only just see the head of the procession and looked back and could not see the end of it! Oh, and dennyd played tag with her too, much to her surprise *grin*.
We stopped at the Peartree services on the Oxford ring road. After a break and some chats to some of the bikers we all got back on the bikes and there was much revving and tooting of horns. One guy also started doing a burn-out which generated a large acrid cloud of smoke that drifted over a good load of the bikers. We set off and entered Oxford city, where we continued the tooting and revving of powerful bike engines - it must have been quite a sight to behold! It was certainly a very exciting thing to be a part of as a rider. Most of the people stopped and stared, car drivers tooted their horns in appreciation and we generally caused a ruckus until we arrived at our final destination - Broad Street.
We met uberredfraggle, who had managed to bunk off work slightly early to behold the spectacle as she is a bike fan too. She bounced up to us all excited when we finally arrived and gave me a big hug :)
We listened to a couple of speeches about Fred Hill and the MAG in general, before heading off to the Gloc for lunch as we were all starving. A bit hot and smokey in there, but the food was good and cheap. Wandered around town to let lunch settle and get to Tiger Lilly, a shop that kissycat1000 wanted to visit, before deciding to head back to Cheltenham. uberredfraggle was upset that she couldn't come with us, but there'll be another time ;)
Riding back along the A40 with dennyd was quite fun as he explains. Relieved to have made the day with no incidents; never having been to something like that before.
We chilled out, spodded and organised the evening thing with allezbleu and squeeza and fiendster after some confusion that androktone wasn't coming and that deathboy might not either. Met in Weatherspoons in town *hack* *spit* which was teeming with... with.. normal people. fiendster, squeeza and her brother Paul arrived, and we almost buggered off before allezbleu and her friend Tony Of No LJ, lee_chaos and deathboy and mrs. deathboy all showed up. Also, we had a surprise appearance from a member of Tarentella Serpentine as well which just added to the confusion ;) Merriment ensued, although with some stresses and strains showing amongst some of the members.
For some reason I ended up snogging deathboy and also swapping coats with him. I was surprised when he didn't buckle under the weight of my biker jacket as most people normally do but the reason was that he was used to it - his leather coat had all sorts of gadgets and stuff in the pockets, which I rifled through and ended up managing to relieve him of a sampler CD of his - it's even BLACK!!! Fantastic. Cheers matey :D
It starts to get a bit hazy here for me because I had by this point consumed a reasonable quantity of beer, not enough to make me useless but enough to considerably dull my already struggling senses. kissycat1000 ended going back home with dennyd driving to pick up some stella for the party at allezbleu's place. I got confused and thought I should be staying in the pub for when they got back but I was told they knew were allezbleu's place was.
I remember talking more to allezbleu about her job and being quite encouraged that I might actually be able to apply for something in her company, something I will follow up on shortly. I was handed some more rather strong pipe-filler and that really didn't help me much. Apologies to dennyd who happened to be the nearest recipient of my demented ramblings. People trickled off to sort out various problems (hopefully) and even I in my inebriated state could sense it was time to go, so we thanked our hosts (I think?) and left.
Some late-night pasta and pesto went down a treat before we hit the hay until 11am on the Sunday. Indulged in some post-session paranoia before getting up and cooking everyone a stonking fried breakfast which was also greeted with enthusiasm. Actual sober chats were had which was good and most welcome. kissycat1000 had to pop out to collect Tianna and visit her mum with a present she was buying for her birthday, leaving me and dennyd to have more chats. I think I delayed him more than I should have as he was planning to go into London to visit a friend before returning home to Milton Keynes so had quite a ride ahead of him.
Nice to finally meet you dennyd, we shall do it again, perhaps less hecticly (although now you have a taste of what it's like in our lives!) and certainly the bike thing in the summer, prosecution notwithstanding.
On Sunday evening Tianna had brought back a Lord Of The Rings battle game, miniatures and Warhammer 40k-like rules, which even though Tianna regarded as "quite geeky" still played and managed to thoroughly kick my arse at. kissycat1000 and I watched "American Beauty" finally which provoked some good discussions. We had beer because my stomach felt dodgy and I knew a beer would sort it out.
I'm still at kissycat1000's as she's at work and I'm waiting for about £600 of computer parts to turn up, and people to call me about jobs in Winnersh, amongst other things.
Well, that was a long post. I hope I haven't forgotten much more other than stuff when I was not sober, which can only be expected.
Oh, kissycat1000 has decided to lay off the beer for a while and I will be joining her in that. Wish us luck :)